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  • The Tesla Model S Plaid is now capable of 200 mph
  • Braking issues plague the new EV
  • Tesla offers a $20,000 carbon ceramic brake kit as a fix

The Tesla Model S Plaid is the car of the moment. Or at least, the newest Tesla was for a while. The Plaid is a drag strip darling, but some issues have started to emerge. Yes, that’s par for the course with Elon Musk, and, like many of the company’s alleged issues, this one is potentially dangerous for both the EV‘s occupants and bystanders.

A grey 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid surrounded by shadow in a photo booth
The Model S Plaid | Tesla

How fast is the Tesla Model S Plaid?

A blue Tesla Model S Plaid shot from the front 3/4
Several outlets have raised concerns about the Plaid’s brakes | Tesla

That issue is centered around two things: the new Plaid’s theoretical de-restricted top speed, and its ability to haul itself down from that magical 200 mph mark. Currently, a 2022 Tesla plaid will do a restricted 167 mph. Fast as hell, to be sure. However, the brand recently stated that an over-the-air update will increase that number up to 200. Obviously, it’s important to acknowledge just how cool that is. A simple update means your car is now capable of Lamborghini-like speeds.

Up until recently, the higher end of the spedo has been an issue for Musk’s creations. See, the motors often top out at a maximum rate of rotation. This limits the top speed of cars like the Model 3. However, the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid has new carbon-sleeved rotors within the motor that allow them to spin faster. Up to around 20,000 RPM. That, coupled with the update, will allow the new EV to get up and go.

The Plaid might be Spaceballs inspired but the braking is anything but

However, the stopping is the real issue. Check the video above. See, there’s a huge issue with the Plaid’s brakes. They simply aren’t up to repeated abuse typical of speeds in excess of 150-200 miles per. Owners have complained on Twitter and forums about the issue, and journalists James Englesman and Thomas Holland raised the issue in one of their videos. In PlaidAF’s video (above), the brakes caught fire after numerous 100-0 braking tests.

Now, that may sound like a lot. But the Plaid is built for the drag strip, the track, and just goin’ real fast in general. Stopping repeatedly from 100+ shouldn’t be a problem for a sports sedan. Credit where it’s due, however, as Tesla does now offer a twenty thousand dollar carbon-ceramic brake kit for the Plaid. The massive 410mm rotors are similarly sized to the BMW M5’s carbon-ceramic brakes. However, BMW only charges around $14,000 for theirs.

The Model S Plaid is too fast

Elon Musk pointing his finger during a press conference
Musk’s build quality standards are called into question | Patrick Pleul via Getty Images

So, should you want to hit the Tesla Model S Plaid’s new 200 mph top speed, make sure you’ve got at least a whole runway to yourself. Even then, we would exercise some serious caution. It’s not an issue yet, and we hope it doesn’t become one, but the braking issue needs to be solved. A $20,000 dealer-only upgrade is not the solution. Maybe the Plaid needs a Top Fuel parachute on the back?


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